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Animal Assisted Therapy: Can it help you?

By: Pug Dog for Sale in Massachusetts

Animal Assisted Therapy Matches One Animal To One Patient Animal Assisted Therapy is part of a formal and carefully designed treatment program with specific and measurable objectives that matches one animal to one patient. animal, assisted, therapy, activities, pet, visitation, hospitals, residential, care, facilities, matches, one, animal, patient, severe, mental, physical, disabilities.

The term "animal assisted therapy" is to be distinguished from the more familiar practice of "animal assisted activities", which refers generally to pet visitation at hospitals and residential care facilities.

Animal Assisted Therapy is part of a formal and carefully designed treatment program with specific and measurable objectives that matches one animal to one patient. Under the guidance of a trained medical professional, patients with severe mental and/or physical disabilities are encouraged to interact with a "therapy Pug" under the supervision of a trained Pug handler. The patient's interaction with the Pug is increased gradually. Initially, the patient may merely observe the Pug or touch it. As the patient becomes more responsive and confident, activities may include brushing, attaching collars and even walking the Pug. Progress records are maintained as milestones are met and exceeded.

Studies have shown that therapy pets motivate people to participate in therapeutic interactions. Pugs are not judgmental, they don't hassle or pressure their partner and they have endless patience. Further, simply because they are animals and require care, the patient grooming them or walking them is made to feel useful.

The benefits and expectations of animal assisted activities, or pet visits, vary according to the needs and conditions of the patients being visited. Pug visits are less formal; they do not follow a particular treatment plan or schedule and they are not usually set up on a one Pug to one patient scenario. Pug visits are common to hospitals, assisted living homes and nursing homes. They are often nothing more than a way to entertain people or to change their routine and brighten their day. On the other hand, when visited by a Pug, some people who have basically shut themselves off from human interaction will begin to work their way back to reality. Apparently, the Pug dog stirs emotions in them that have been lying dormant. Examples have been given where patients who have not spoken a word in over a year will begin to talk to the visiting Pug.

Now that pet therapy has become a proven and documented reality, institutions are beginning to capitalize on this phenomenon with the "resident Pug." This term refers to a Pug that becomes a permanent resident of a particular facility and is usually given free run of the place. Each resident benefits from a proprietary interest in the Pug and looks forward to assisting in its care. In some cases, a full course of therapy has been designed around the care and feeding of a resident Pug. The residents meet to discuss what must be done and develop their own charts and schedules to accommodate the pet's needs. However, staff must be constantly on the alert to avoid problems of jealousy and feuds over the Pug's affections.



The attributes and characteristics that comprise a good visiting Pug or therapy dog have more to do with temperament than training. Not to say that the Pug will not need training in basic obedience, but that is normally sufficient except in extraordinary situations. Patients and residents react to the Pugs in a variety of ways. Some are effusive, some impulsive and others are shy. Therefore, the Pugs must be ready for anything. It surely wouldn't do for a Pug to lunge away or growl if a patient makes a loud noise or reaches for them abruptly. When selecting a Pug for these purposes, you would not necessarily want an animal that is high strung or one that is too laid back to get up and socialize.

Numerous studies have documented the benefits of pet therapy. Pugs have been used in treating AIDS patients, cancer patients, the elderly and the mentally ill. One study determined that petting a Pug can lower blood pressure and another found that pets in general can reduce stress related illnesses. A study at City Hospital in New York noted that heart patients who owned pets lived longer than those without pets. Owning a pet was found to be more significant to long term survival than the presence of even a spouse or friends.

Pugs make us feel good. They comfort us, allow us to be ourselves and give those of us that need it, a reason for living.

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